St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock

Fidelis Justus Prudens

June 8, 2020
by Mr Kane
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Communication

Dear Parent/Carer,

Please share with all families associated with our school and in your social circle. As you may know, we have updated our online communication channels regularly during lockdown and we know that most families are accessing at least one of our online platforms. Please click on this image to find links/guidance designed to ensure that you are following us online. This will be of particular importance during summer, as it is likely that communication in respect of August will be updated and/or released during the holiday period.

August 2, 2020
by Mr Kane
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SQA Results – Support Available Tuesday 4th August

Dear Parents/Carers and Pupils,
This is a reminder that school staff will be in St. Joseph’s on Tuesday to offer support and assistance around SQA results. If you need advice or support please call the school on 01563 526144 on Tuesday. If you wait until Wednesday you will not be able to speak to a member of staff and will need to wait until we re-open.
Please share this information with families of young people awaiting exam results.
Kind Regards
Mr Kane

August 2, 2020
by Mr Kane
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Re-opening

Dear Parents/Carers and Pupils,
Please see statement from Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Head of Education in respect of re-opening.
Following the release of EAC’s statement on Tuesday 4th August, we will publish school level guidance and detail on our website by 5pm on Wednesday 5th August.
Kind Regards
Mr Kane
Responding to the Scottish Government’s announcement earlier today, Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Head of Education at East Ayrshire Council advised:
“We were delighted to receive the guidance issued today by the Scottish Government in respect of return of schools and our teams are working hard across the council to ensure that all of our schools and Early Childhood Centres are checked, safe and ready to welcome our young people.
A comprehensive statement covering our approach in East Ayrshire will be published on our website and on School Apps for parents, carers and young people on Tuesday 4 August, following consultation with Headteachers, Teaching Unions and our Parent Council Steering Group. This will then be followed by individual school communications.
Our schools will be open from Wednesday 12 August with a “soft start” over that week and individual schools will confirm their own specific arrangements about which children should attend each day. This is to ensure that time and space is given to making sure that the new safety and hygiene arrangements in each school are understood by young people, staff, parents and carers.
At this stage, we can confirm that all pupils will return full-time on Monday 17 August.
Our statement on Tuesday 4 August will furnish parents and carers with further detail in all regards, including the return of children to early learning and childcare and we once again re-iterate what a joy it will be to see our young people again in our schools and Early Childhood Centres.”

July 30, 2020
by Mr Kane
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Re-Opening and SQA Results Day

Dear Pupils and Parents/Carers,

As you may be aware, SQA will release exam results to young people on Tuesday 4th August. SLT and Pastoral staff will be in school on Tuesday to take calls and offer support where necessary.

Given the unique nature of certification this session, we anticipate that a number of parents/carers or pupils will wish to speak to school staff on Tuesday. The window for addressing potential appeals is short and as such we encourage you to call on Tuesday if you have any concerns you wish to discuss.

Please be aware of the following:

  • All calls will be taken by office staff who will ask for the following information
    • Pupil name, Parent/Carer name, contact number
    • Subject(s) where there is a concern you would like to discuss
  • SLT or Pastoral Care staff will return all calls related to SQA grades on Tuesday
  • Calls not related to SQA matters may or may not be returned on Tuesday
    • Staff are in school on a voluntary basis to deal with SQA matters and these will take priority over all other calls
  • Option changes can be discussed on Tuesday, but will likely require follow up in week 1 of the new session

In terms of potential SQA appeals, it is important to consider the following:

  • A candidate is eligible for review (appeal) only when the they have been awarded a lower grade than the grade estimated by the school
    • Example of where an appeal is possible – School estimated a B, candidate receives a C
    • Example of where an appeal is not possible – School estimated a B, candidate received a B
  • This means that where the grade achieved is the same as or better than what the school estimated then we cannot appeal
    • If this is the case we will notify you on Tuesday
  • Parents/Carers and Pupils should be aware that a review (appeal) can result in downgrading as well as upgrading

Re-opening

It is less than helpful that the release of new re-opening guidance broadly coincides with SQA results day. I hope parents/carers will understand that school staff must prioritise SQA matters and appeals in the early part of next week.

We will consider the newly released re-opening guidance and any implications for our site in the coming days. We will also work closely with local authority colleagues before sharing further and final re-opening guidance on either Wednesday 5th or Thursday 6th August.

We fully appreciate that this is very close to the start of the new session, but have no control over the fact that two significant and unique pieces of work were released to us at roughly the same time and during a period where most of our staff are on holiday.

I thank you for your ongoing patience and will provide as much clarity as possible next week.  Despite the logistical challenges we may face in the coming weeks, we do very much look forward to welcoming our young people back to St. Joseph’s.

Please enjoy what is left of the summer holiday period.

Kind Regards

Mr Kane

June 26, 2020
by Mr Kane
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Summer

Dear Parent/Carer,
 
Linda McAulay-Griffiths has provided an update for all parents/carers via school apps. Instructions on how to download the app are shown at the end of this message. If the QR code causes problems, it is best to search and download from the app store.
 
Please note, that there is still a significant amount of work to be completed behind the scenes before August 11th. As per the update from East Ayrshire Council the aim is full time return in August but there are many unknowns at the moment. The First Minister is due to provide updates on 9th and 30th July and we will share what we can around that time. These updates will hopefully bring the clarity we all need.
 
As you will appreciate, school staff are now on holiday and as such will not respond to messages here as often as we would during term time. Further information around how to contact the council is found within the update on the school app.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the parent council, wider parent forum (all parents/carers), colleagues, partners and young people for your support and dedication this session. Please enjoy a safe and restful break.
 
Kind Regards
 
Mr Kane

June 25, 2020
by Mr Kane
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School Transport

Dear Parent/Carer,
 
The new online application form for School Transport went live this morning and can be found here:
 
 
The guidance states:
 
1. You do not require to submit a new application if your child received free school transport for school term 2019/20 due to:
  • staying more than 1.5 miles from primary school
  • staying more than 3.0 miles from secondary school
  • safety reasons, there being no suitable walking route
Your child will remain registered for free transport until the end of their P7 year or S6 year.
 
2. You should submit a new application for:
  • new P1 pupils who require transport for 2020/21
  • new S1 pupils who require transport for 2020/21
  • all pupils who normally qualify for subsidised transport to secondary school

June 23, 2020
by Mrs SHEARER
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S1 – S3 Award Winners

All S1-S3 award winners have now received an electronic copy of their certificates.  Remember to tune in to your Virtual Award Ceremony on Thursday using the link sent in your email. Well done everyone!

June 23, 2020
by Mr Kane
0 comments

August

Dear Parent/Carer,

As you may have heard, Mr. Swinney has announced a potential change to the circumstances in August. Please note, the plans shared by the Scottish Government are conditional on scientific evidence.

Much of our communication refers solely to the blended model, and is either on the way to you via post or will be sent tomorrow. It is still necessary to share the plans we released this week in case the scientific evidence in August necessitates the use of a blended model.

In the coming days, local authority and school staff will consider today’s announcement and will share what we can with you by Friday. Thereafter, it is likely that the local authority will provide further communication over summer. I will also provide updates over summer, but the letters you receive this week or next will still include our planning as it stood this morning. I trust that given the frequency of detailed communication released by me throughout this period, parents/carers will have confidence in the fact that we will be able to provide clarity when we can and in some detail.

Please do not send emails to the school asking about new plans for August until after we can digest today’s announcement and share our plans with you. We had no prior awareness of today’s announcement and need to finalise blended contingency plans before we can turn our attention to any potential re-opening en-masse.

As always, I thank you for your ongoing support and patience.

Kind Regards

Mr Kane

June 20, 2020
by Mr Kane
0 comments

Sibling Group Update

Dear Parent/Carer,

I am frustrated somewhat by the length of the communication I currently need to issue. Unfortunately, the complexity of the various aspects of re-opening necessitate lengthier correspondence than I would like. I thank you in advance for your patience.

Thank you for completing the return on sibling groups. We had issued two forms, the first in relation to primary age siblings and the second in relation to sibling groups within our school. While there was a clear willingness across our Education Group to consider arrangements across primary and secondary, the reality of coinciding the models used in six different schools only served to prove that it is not possible to devise a workable solution from P1 to S6. There were too many different combinations across family groups and schools to create any sort of meaningful plan across sectors.  This is the case nationally and is not an issue unique to us or East Ayrshire Council.

The remainder of this message is specifically in relation to sibling groups where all siblings will attend St. Joseph’s Academy as of August.

Please note the following:

  • We sincerely appreciate the information shared with us, as it has helped ensure that we can facilitate our planned model
  • We disregarded any returns that did not relate to sibling groups within St. Joseph’s only, as the form was specifically around planning for siblings who will all attend St. Joseph’s Academy next session
  • If you completed the form and indicated that a parent/carer will be at home across the full week, then we will not make further contact with you and will presume that young people will attend on their set days only
  • If you completed the form and indicated that a parent/carer will be at home on specific days which coincide with when pupils will be at home, then we will not make contact in relation to those days (e.g. you are at home on a Tuesday, and have an S4 pupil and an S2 pupil, the S2 pupil would attend school as planned and the S4 pupil would remain at home with their parent/carer).
  • If the school model already ensures that all young people from your household will attend on the same days, then we will not make further contact with you and will presume that young people will only attend on their set days

We will make contact with families where no adult is set to be at home and siblings are set to be split between school and home on any given day of the week. We hope to have called by Wednesday and will clarify arrangements then. If you have completed the form and have not heard from the school by Wednesday, please make contact either by emailing Mr Kane or by filling in the contact us form on our website.

We are also aware of the childcare pressure that re-opening will bring, both for staff working in schools and parents/carers. Unfortunately, childcare is outwith the scope of the school, and while we will pass on any emerging guidance at national or local level, we cannot offer in school childcare on days where every child from the same household is scheduled to be at home. In addition to this being outwith our scope, it is also the case that families with only one child at our school cannot be treated any more or less favourably than those with more than one child. If no children from a household are scheduled to be in school then it will not be possible for them to come to school on those days.

Childcare hubs will continue over summer, and it is my understanding that during summer, the Scottish Government will release clarity on childcare and key-worker status for August. East Ayrshire Council, having considered any such guidance, would then publish clarity on the location, access protocol, and form of any childcare provision on offer.

At the moment, employers are still advised to encourage home working, and the Scottish Government have asked for employers to demonstrate flexibility come August. It is clear the that the national picture keeps changing, and we know that any advice released over summer may alter individual family circumstances. As a fair starting point, both for families and the school, any arrangements in place now will stand for the first two weeks of term. If your circumstances change over summer, we will offer a follow up form during the first week of the new term and take things from there in week three onward.

Kind Regards

Mr Kane

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